KIRO NEWSRADIO

Dust, diesel exhaust, delays dominate Sound Transit station amid repairs

Jan 18, 2024, 10:52 PM

sound transit westlake station...

Sound Transit's Westlake Station (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

Sound Transit passengers and commuters at Westlake Station in Seattle are suffering through several annoyances — dust, noise and construction-related smells — as the agency is working to replace tracks and nearly 50 signal boxes through the downtown tunnel. The project started Jan. 13 and is expected to last through Feb. 3.

“It’s basically a construction site for the tunnel right now,” Sound Transit spokesperson John Gallagher said on the state of the station. “We’re removing tracks that are embedded in concrete. We’re removing bond boxes that carry signals for the train. Those are also embedded in the concrete. So the contractors have to sort of chip away at the concrete and get those out of there. That’s causing some dust.”

More on state traveling: I-90 East lane blocked for failing expansion joint on Mercer Island

He added riders will notice that it’s noisy due to the work. Fumes, primarily diesel exhaust from the equipment contractors are using, can cause some nausea for passengers who are sensitive to smells. But Gallagher confirmed the fumes are at a safe level.

“We wouldn’t be open for riders if it wasn’t safe,” Gallagher said. “The fumes have been measured by the fire department and determined to be at safe levels. We have four giant exhaust fans at the Westlake Station that are really throwing the air out to get as clean as possible. But there’s still going to be some lingering smell.”

Gallagher noted riders with sensitive respiratory systems may be a little uncomfortable.

In addition to the annoyances riders are putting up with, delays are sprouting up too. The work caused the Seattle tunnel to operate on a single track, slowing down the frequency of trains.

More from Micki Gamez: Seattle streets are ready for potential snow, frozen conditions

“I’d have to get up earlier than before, I’m planning more than before,” one commuter told KIRO Newsradio. “I’d say an hour before.”

Sounds Transit said it hopes to have the station operating at its normal schedule by Feb. 5.

You can read more of Micki Gamez’s stories here. Follow Micki on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

KIRO Newsradio

Image: The sun sets over the University District in Seattle. (File photo: Lindsey Wasson, AP)...

Ted Buehner

Friday sets new record for consecutive 80-degree days in Western Washington

A record-breaking streak of 80 degrees or better in Seattle and much of the Western Washington interior is expected to reach 16 days Friday.

2 days ago

Photo: Police are looking for a Tacoma serial arsonist after a rash of fires. This photo is of a fi...

James Lynch

Tacoma police looking for serial arsonist after rash of fires endanger lives, property

Tacoma police are currently searching for a serial arsonist after a rash of fires in the area endangered lives and property.

3 days ago

Photo: Thousands of members of Boeing's Machinist Union met at T-Mobile Park Wednesday to decide wh...

James Lynch

Boeing machinists vote overwhelmingly to authorize a strike

Thousands of members of Boeing's Machinist Union met at T-Mobile Park Wednesday to decide whether to authorize a strike vote.

3 days ago

Image: Red and white reflective stripes are being added to Washington State Department of Transport...

Chris Sullivan

Going green isn’t what you think when it comes to WSDOT safety

The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is tired of people plowing into trucks and is taking a green approach.

3 days ago

Photo: Traffic on I-5....

Micki Gamez

Prepare for traffic: Sound Transit to close lane of I-5 south

Washington has two seasons: winter and construction. Sound Transit is going to close one lane on I-5 south.

4 days ago

Image: Kimberly Cheatle is the 27th director of the U.S. Secret Service. She has held the position ...

Angela Poe Russell

Angela Poe Russell: The unlikely scapegoat in the Donald Trump assassination attempt

A Republican from Tennessee, said DEI was to blame for the tragedy that saw a gunman try to kill Donald Trump.

4 days ago

Dust, diesel exhaust, delays dominate Sound Transit station amid repairs